Weeks before New Zealand’s medical marijuana regulations take effect, Auckland-based Helius Therapeutics says it has raised 20 million New Zealand dollars ($12.8 million) to help fund facility expansion and clinical trials.
Helius is among nearly two-dozen companies that are licensed to grow cannabis for research purposes.
After the regulatory foundation for New Zealand’s medical cannabis sector enters into force April 1, Helius will transition from a solely research-based company to a vertically-integrated enterprise.
Co-Chief Executive Paul Manning said the fresh round of capital will allow Helius to invest in clinical studies and expand its operations.
“This will be a combination of expanding our main site, which is a precision-controlled (good agricultural and collection practices) indoor facility in East Tamaki, Auckland, while developing our second site under glass, focused on CBD production,” he said.
Helius has signed a memorandum of understanding with two clinical trial groups – Lakeland Clinical Trial Group and Southern Clinical Trial Group – to commence work in the next three months.
Manning said plans are in the works to double the size of the company’s cultivation facility, which currently sits at 65,000 square feet.
The company’s processing and manufacturing facility is nearing completion, and Helius aims to achieve European Union good manufacturing practice (EU-GMP) certification later this year.
The NZ$20 million adds to the NZ$15 million invested in the company in 2018.
Manning said Helius had a “strong cash position” prior to the most recent capital raise.
“We have no debt and presently the entire NZ$20 million in additional funding is available to execute our strategy,” he said.
New Zealand’s referendum on the legalization of recreational cannabis will take place in September.
Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at [email protected].
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